Swati Mahadik, who joined Indian Army, keeps first love of martyred husband alive

Swati Mahadik, sworn in as a lieutenant in the Indian Army, keeps the first love for her martyred husband alive

Lt Swati Mahadik at Chennai's Officers Training Academy on Saturday
Lt Swati Mahadik at Chennai's Officers Training Academy on Saturday

When her husband was martyred in the Kupwara operation in 2015, Swati Mahadik knew she could further his love for the Defence Forces. From working as a teacher, Swati, 38, took an oath on Saturday as a lieutenant in the Indian Army after completing her rigorous training of 11 months.

On November 17, 2015, Col Santosh Mahadik, 38, commanding officer of anti-terror force of 41 Rashtriya Rifles (RR), was part of the counter-infiltration operation in Kupwara, Jammu and Kashmir. He died in a gun battle against terrorists, following which he was conferred the Shaurya Chakra medal in 2016.

He hailed from a small village named Pogarwadi in Satara and was the son of a milkman. He was adopted by his maternal grandmother who changed his surname from Ghorpade to Mahadik. In 2003, he married Swati, a teacher who holds a Masters degree in social work (MSW).

Lt Swati Mahadik with her children, Swarajya and Kartiki
Lt Swati Mahadik with her children, Swarajya and Kartiki

Swati, the mother of two, underwent physical training and coaching under Col (retd) Pradeep Brahmankar in Pune last year. Her seven-year-old son, Swarajya, is studying in Std I in Panchgani, while her daughter, Kartiki, 13, is in Std VIII in a Dehradun-based boarding school.

On Saturday, a passing out parade was organised at Chennai's Officers Training Academy. She got the 'Best Cadet' medal at the ceremony as well as two stars on her shoulder. Her first posting will be held at Dehu Road in Pune. The parade was attended by her two children, her mother-in-law, Kalindi and her parents.

Swati said, "Santosh's first love was the Indian Army and then me. He was determined to realise his first love and wear his olive uniform. By wearing this uniform daily, I know I am not alone and that he is with me and within me. I want to be a role model for my children so that they pursue the same career that my husband had dreamt of. This is not the Swati I was and I never dreamt that I would be such a woman. I was shy and introverted and never had confidence in myself, but now I am bold and fearless. This is a new life for me and I will make the best of the opportunity to serve the nation."

Swati's coach, Brahmankar said, "After Santosh was killed, Swati came to me for guidance. In her late 30s and the mother of two children, she had to build stamina and lose weight. But, fighting against all odds, she practised daily — running, walking, heavy-weight training and coaching. She is determined and we are proud of her."

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